Old Ned

Arizona Historymakers™

Arizona Historical Society

Raúl Hector  Castro

1916 - 2015

Honored as Historymaker 2014

Governor of Arizona & United States Ambassador

Oral History Transcript:

Governor Raúl Castro, a native of Sonora, Mexico, immigrated to Arizona with his family when he was ten years old. Growing up in an impoverished environment in Douglas, he was inspired by an insightful teacher who encouraged him to use his talents and abilities. He believed the most important award he ever received was when he became an American citizen in the 1930s. Earning a degree in education from Arizona State Teachers College in Flagstaff (now Northern Arizona University), he sought a teaching job in Arizona. Unable to find one because he was Mexican, Raúl Castro returned to Douglas and worked at the American Consulate in Agua Prieta, Mexico. Moving to Tucson, he gained a position teaching Spanish at the University of Arizona (UArizona) and concurrently earned a UArizona law degree. Subsequently he was elected Pima County attorney and Pima County Superior Court judge. In 1974, he was elected Arizona's first and only Hispanic governor. He served three U.S. presidents as the ambassador to El Salvador, Bolivia, and Argentina. In retirement, Governor Castro visited schools and encouraged Spanish-speaking students to learn English and to get an education beyond high school.